Monday, June 29, 2009

Passion Fruit Granité

Passion Fruit Granite, what is it? Basically it’s a sorbet that was never put in a batch freezer. All you have to do is freeze the mixture and rake often during the freezing process, to produce large pieces of ice.

Most people do not know or have never seen a passion fruit. A passion fruit is primarily comprised of a juice that tastes similar to grapefruit juice and the rest of it is seeds. To properly cut one you cut the fruit in half then run the juice through a fine mesh sieve to retrieve all the seeds.

For the final plate we saved the shell and served the granite on top of it with a mint leaf. The dessert is rather simple to make but it tastes remarkable.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Basil Infused Olive Oil Ice Cream

Olives were the base of recent dessert. The dessert was comprised of basil infused olive oil ice cream, a Mediterranean olive tuile and a variety of fruits. Once again I came up with a variety of plating options for the final product.

The ideas for both recipes came from Michael Laiskonis of Le Bernadin in New York City. While making the items I changed the recipes several times to modify the end product. Usually I follow recipes pretty tight but these two were great base recipes that allowed for personal interpretation.

The olive oil ice cream was good but if I make it again I’ll reduce the amount of fromage Blanc to make the frozen product a little more malleable.

The ice cream had two main flavors, olive oil and basil. The recipe called for two hundred grams of olive oil, which could overpower the basil flavor if the extra virgin olive oil has a strong flavor, which mine did. So I decided to only use sixty five grams of olive oil. This is one reason why it’s always a good idea to taste your recipe before dumping an ingredient completely in.

The olive tuile turned out perfectly in the end. I used kalamata olives in the tuile giving it a darker color. To get the tuile to turn thinner and somewhat transparent, I had to add three times the amount of glucose syrup that it called for in the original recipe.

For the final plating I formed a few of the tuile’s into miniature “taco shells” and “cannoli’s”. Then I diced up some strawberries and mango to put in the “tacos”. To finish the plate off I put a blueberry leaf on the plate.

With a few minor changes I could see this plate becoming great.

Black Olive “Taco” Tuile

Strawberries, Mango, Basil, Olive Oil Infused Fromage Blanc Ice Cream, Mango Purée

Fromage Blanc Ice Cream Infused with Basil & Olive Oil

Mediterranean Olive “Cannoli”, Strawberries, Mango, Dark Cherries, Julienne of Basil.

Fruit Compote with Mango Coulis

Olive Oil Infused Fromage Blanc Ice Cream, Mediterranean Olive Tuile with Orange Zest, Basil

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Christopher Elbow Artisanal Chocolates

Christopher Elbow landed his first cooking job in 1992 at the Lincoln Country Club. After graduating from the University of Nebraska in 1996 he returned to Kansas City to head Shiraz Restaurant. After moving to Las Vegas shortly, he once again returned to Kansas City. After accepting executive pastry chef at the American Restaurant, he began to perfect his chocolate-making skills. In January 2009 Food & Wine ranked Elbow number one on their top ten chocolates.

While visiting Elbow’s store in Kansas City I decided to buy a few different chocolates. I bought the following five chocolates: Venezuelan Dark, Tanzanie, Strawberry-Balsamic Caramel, Bourbon Pecan and Yuzu. All the chocolates were excellent, each with their own unique flavor.

I think the chocolates would make an excellent dessert with a little port. So I placed the five chocolates on a long plate along a side of ten year Tawny Port. It’s a rather simple idea but I think people would connect with it.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Strawberry Shortcake Redefined

Strawberry shortcake, a tradition in many households but today my strawberry shortcake is new and refined.

When I think of tradition strawberry shortcake, I think of a dry heavy dessert. The base or the shortcake of my dessert was a classic French madeleine from my corn sorbet experiment. The madeleine was perfect for this scenario, cakey but still light.

The strawberry flavor really came through nicely on the final dish. After finishing with the strawberry foam, I shot the final bit into a few molds and threw them in the freezer. The final product was very light yet tasty. To finish the plate off I quartered some strawberries and put whipped cream on top.

This is truly the new way to serve “strawberry shortcake.” Not to heavy yet you still get the rich powerful flavors of the dessert.

Strawberry Shortcake

Frozen Strawberry Foam, Madeleine's, Sweetened Whipped Cream, Fresh Strawberries

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


Corn sorbet and classic madeleines was my last experiment. While working with these two things I came up with a few different plating options. Each was very different and I ended up with many great ideas for the future.

The idea for the corn sorbet came from Michael Laiskonis and his workbook site but the classic madeleines recipe came out of the famous Larousse Gastronomique. Once the components of a dish are made then I get to come up with the different plating options, which is always interesting.

Both the corn sorbet and the madeleines turned out nicely. The sorbet was slightly lighter than my previous experiment with balsamic vinegar ice cream but that is expected. The sorbet had an interesting flavor to it. The sweetness of the corn came through nicely but I think I lost a lot of the flavor straining it, but it is a necessary process.

The madeleines were perfect, moist and cakey in the interior and somewhat crisp on the exterior. The first madeleines I buttered the molds like stated in the recipe and the edges of the madeleines were golden brown in color, but I only baked them for fifteen minutes instead of the recommended twenty-five minutes.

The first presentation was quite simple, a quenelle scoop of corn sorbet, a madeleine and a single blackberry. After this, I experimented with making an ice cream sandwich of sorts and it turned out better than I had imagined.

During this experiment I got to experience making madeleines and I started to compare the similarities between making sorbets and ice creams. Hopefully throughout the summer I continue to perfect my ice cream and sorbet making skills.


Classic Madeleines

Melt 100g (4 oz, ½ cup) butter without allowing it to become hot. Butter a tray of madeleine moulds with 20g (3/4 oz, 1 ½ tablespoons) butter. Put the juice of half a lemon in a bowl with a pinch of salt, 125g (4 ½ oz, scant 2/3 cup) caster (superfine) sugar, 3 eggs, and an extra egg yolk. Mix well together with a wooden spatula and then sprinkle in 125g (4 ½ oz, scant 1 ¼ cups) sifted flour and mix till the mixture is smooth; finally add the melted butter. Spoon the mixture into the moulds but do not fill more than two-thirds full. Bake in the oven at 180 C (350 F, gas 4) for about 15 minutes. Turn out the madeleines and leave to cool on a wire tray. Before serving, sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar.

Churning in the ice cream maker

Sweet Corn Sorbet, Madeleines, Fresh Blackberries, Caramel

Sweet Corn Sorbet, Madeleines, Fresh Blackberries

Sweet Corn Sorbet, Madeleines, Fresh Blackberries, Caramel

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Frozen Flavors

Balsamic vinegar ice cream, strawberry foam and a vanilla olive oil parfait. Most people would be turned off by these three things combined but I found it rather intriguing.

On my first attempt of ever making ice cream I was really pleased. The balsamic vinegar came through but wasn’t overpowering, just like I’d hoped. The recipe used nonfat dry milk, glucose powder and ice cream stabilizer. Getting slightly into molecular gastronomy, that many people are completely opposed to.

The strawberry foam was quick and very simple. It was a great component to the dish with a sweet flavor similar to a strawberry smoothie. Later on I can see myself substituting the strawberries with other fruits, creating new foams. Although foam has been used for many applications, I think it gives the plate a new look.

The vanilla olive oil parfait was good but missing something. The parfait resembles a mousse which makes it challenging for the extra virgin olive oil to come through. I think using unfiltered olive oil will give me the flavor I’m looking for. Texture wise, it held up nicely but once it started to heat up the gelatin almost made it rubbery.

As Michael Laiskonis states the vanilla olive oil parfait perfects the combo of balsamic vinegar ice cream and strawberry foam.

A few days ago I visited Christopher Elbow Artisanal Chocolates in Kansas City. While I was there I purchased pate de fruit of raspberry to go on the final dish. The raspberry worked rather well in the final dish giving it another sweet component.

Churning in the ice cream maker

Aged Balsamic Vinegar Ice Cream, Vanilla Olive Oil Parfait, Strawberry Foam, Reduced Balsamic Glaze, Mint, Christopher Elbow Raspberry Gelee

Aged Balsamic Vinegar Ice Cream, Fresh Strawberries, Mint, Strawberry Foam, Crushed Biscotti’s

Cylinder of Vanilla Olive Oil Parfait, Aged Balsamic Vinegar Ice Cream, Fresh Strawberries, Strawberry Foam, Reduced Balsamic Glaze

Vanilla Olive Oil Parfait Embedded With Strawberries, Balsamic Vinegar Ice Cream, Strawberry Foam, Mint

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Johnsonville Sausages

Established in 1945 by Ralph F. and Alice B. Stayer, Johnsonville Sausages still holds strong today. From bratwursts to sausage patties their products are always excellent.

Recently Johnsonville Sausages contacted me because they saw my blog. A few weeks later I received a complementary apron, with my blogs name on it, in the mail.

Marketing wise, it is really smart on their behalf because I’m the next generation of consumers. Many people overlook millennial marketing but I think it’s absolutely huge and Johnsonville Sausages does too.

A few nights ago I bought a pack of bratwursts and threw them on the grill. The one in the picture is perfection, juicy and wonderfully caramelized.